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Indiana House Committee Loses Experienced Legislators

The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee wants the recently found money to fund full day kindergarten and pay more to victims of the State Fair tragedy.

Following the retirement of its two longtime leaders, the House Ways and Means committee will look significantly different when the Indiana General Assembly begins its session in January.

Between them, Uniondale Republican Jeff Espich and Indianapolis Democrat Bill Crawford had 80 years of legislative experience.  The two men led the House Ways and Means committee when their party was in control.

But both are retiring this year.  House Speaker Brian Bosma will announce the new Republican Ways and Means leadership team this week and he says there are eight or nine candidates for the chairmanship.

Bosma says there are a variety of qualifications he’s considering.

“Have to have time to do it because it is a time-consuming process,” Bosma says. They have to be someone that can take in a lot of information in a short period of time.  They have to be experienced in the legislative process.”

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath says he’s tabbed Indianapolis Representative Greg Porter to lead his caucus on Ways and Means.

“He’s an extraordinarily experienced legislator. He has great integrity. He’s a good man, and he has a great grasp of a myriad of issues but particularly in the education realm,” Pelath says.

Indiana devotes 56 percent of its state budget to education, the highest percentage of any state in the country. Porter formerly led Democrats on the House Education Committee.

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